Browsing CategoryFinger Lakes

Magnus Ridge Winery: A Family Affair Focused on the Tasting Experience


A few miles north of the village of Watkins Glen on the western shore of Seneca Lake is a large and striking structure faces the lake from the side of a hill that is bisected by Route 14. Although it mostly resembles a French chateau in design, the building is a fusion of Old World architectural styles that give it an imposing, yet inviting aura. Its name, Magnus Ridge Winery, pays homage to its size as well as its location. The winery and the nearby vineyards represent the realization of a life-long dream for Sandy and Matt Downey who built…

Knapp 2013 Dry Riesling


With aromas of lemon drop, peach flesh and pit and a subtle floral quality, Knapp 2013 Dry Riesling ($16) is fruity and forward without being too candied. Thought sweeter than many would expect from a wine labeled “Dry” there is a nice balance between the residual sugar — which brings a bit of mid-palate fullness — and citrusy, juicy acidity that lingers with a distinct lime finish. Peach flavors are ripe and plush with citrus at the edges and a bit of apple skin. This was the surprise of a recent tasting. Producer: Knapp Wines AVA: Finger Lakes ABV: 12% Production: 302 cases…

For Peter Becraft, a Dream Winemaking Job Starts with a Challenging Vintage


In June, the head job was his. By the end of August, he might have been wondering why nature had served him such a cruel dish for his first solo vintage. But at Anthony Road Wine Company on Seneca Lake, Peter Becraft knew very well to stay patient. He could wait to see what September would bring. He had been waiting years for the chance at a head winemaking job, and he is not the type to stew. That’s probably framing the situation unfairly. Anthony Road has become one of the most significant names in the New York wine industry,…

Weekly New York Wine News — January 5, 2015

Photo courtesy of Macari Vineyards

I’ll Drink to That Podcast - 12/23/2014 Levi Dalton interviews Christopher Tracy - winemaker and a partner at the Channing Daughters winery, on New York’s Long Island. Plus Erin Scala takes a look at the history of wine production in New York state. New York Times - 12/26/2014 The owners of Finger Lakes wine cellars are squaring off against business interests to store liquefied petroleum gas in their neighborhoods. New York Winemakers Fight Gas Storage Plan Near Seneca Lake. - 12/29/2014 Gas storage plan under Seneca Lake draws letters to the editor and a heated commentary. WXXI News - 12/29/2014 New York…

Red Newt Cellars 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling


Tasting on the drier side of semi-dry Red Newt Cellars 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling ($15) begins with a burst of citrus on the nose — lemon and lime — with added aromas of flint, citrus blossom, jasmine tea and wet gravel. Ample, but well-integrated, acidity brings verve to a palate that shows a nice bit of concentration on the mid-palate to go along with flavors that closely match the nose. There is a touch of sweetness here, but crunchy, lime-juicy acidity balances it deftly. The finish lingers with notes of lime peel and slate. Producer: Red Newt Cellars AVA: Finger Lakes ABV: 10.3% Production: 240…

Finger Lakes Region Mourns the Loss of Top Grape Grower Sam Argetsinger


The Finger Lakes lost one of its most prominent grape growers on Sunday night when Sam Argetsinger died at his home. Argetsinger is the owner of his eponymous vineyard, which rises high above the southeast side of Seneca Lake. “We’re still in shock,” said Morten Hallgren, co-owner of Ravines Wine Cellars, which uses Argetsinger Vineyard fruit to make some of the finest wines in the region. “Sam was a loyal friend, a passionate grape grower, and an Iroquois translator who was so in touch with his environment that you could see it in his fiery blue eyes. A friend like…

Lakewood Vineyards 2012 Riesling


Lakewood Vineyards can always be counted on for good value rieslings — affordable wines that typically over-deliver for the price. Lakewood Vineyards 2012 Riesling ($13) goes even further — offering quality well above its $13 price-tag. Fruity and forward, the nose offers pear, peach and dried apricot notes right out of the refrigerator that turn a bit more musk melon-y as the wine warms. Driven by stone fruit — peaches and apricots — the slightly sweet palate shows a drip of honey and crisp, citrusy edges. Finishing nearly dry with apple and lime notes, this is the kind of Finger Lakes riesling…

Heron Hill Winery 2011 Reserve Blaufrankisch


Bright berry notes — crushed raspberry and sour cherry — dominate the nose on Heron Hill Winery 2011 Reserve Blaufrankisch ($40) with a sprinkling of pepper and baking spice and vanilla sugar. That peppery spicy edge is present on the medium-light bodied palate, but there is much more oak — raw and bitter — as well. The bramble/raspberry and sour cherry fruit is juicy and fresh, just hidden beneath wood tannins. \ Producer: Heron Hill Winery AVA: Finger Lakes ABV: 12.5% Production: 350 cases Price: $40 (sample) (2.5 out of 5, Average-to-Very Good)

Tasting the Past and Possible Future of Finger Lakes Saperavi at Standing Stone Vineyards


The titles on Marti Macinski’s business card read “Co-owner” and “Winemaker.” But it would be easy to understand if they included “Historian” and “Educator” as well. Ms. Macinski, who along with her husband Tom has owned and operated Standing Stone Vineyards in Hector , NY for more than twenty years, is well-versed in the modern history of winemaking in the Finger Lakes region. It is a subject that she has not only studiously researched, but has also helped to shape since the early nineteen-nineties. The Macinski’s are self-described “wine geeks” who have applied a scientific approach to their viticultural and…

At Stever Hill Vineyards, New Ownership Tries to Rebuild the Brand


How do you change a longstanding reputation? Don Tones is trying to answer that question. The name Stever Hill Vineyards may be unfamiliar to readers of this site. Located on the western side of Keuka Lake, the winery has a reputation for sweet, lower-quality wines. In 2012, though, the Tones family bought Stever Hill Vineyards with an eye toward turning things around. The Tones family has been growing grapes in the region for generations, and multiple generations of the family are currently involved in winery operations — owners Don, Harold, and Jim, Don’s daughter Liz Sprague and son Mike, and nephew…